EV Car Charger Types: How They Work

Learn about different types of electric vehicle (EV) car chargers including level 1, level 2, and DC fast chargers. Find the right charger for your EV.

Electric vehicles are taking the world by an electrical storm, and for good reason: the price of fossil fuel at the pump is crazy high. If you are ready to buy a new vehicle and are interested in alternative energy, maybe an EV is the right choice.

With owning an EV comes the task of charging the onboard batteries, and this is similar to a gas vehicle in that you need to go to a “station” and fill ‘it up. With regular combustion engines, you pull up to the pumps, but for an EV, there are many more options. Charging your EV comes down to speed and availability, which is dictated by your charger.

Sound complicated? It’s not really, and understanding your options gets you closer to owning a gas-free ride. Let’s learn about the different EV charger types.

AD vs DC

This is not a choice of rock band but rather the different chargers. AC, or alternating current, is used for type 1 and type 2 charging, while DC, or direct current, is used for type 3 or fast charging. As a basic understanding, the higher the number, the faster the charge.

Depending on your car, you will probably utilize all of commercial EV chargers over the life of your vehicle. Decide what makes the most sense to you, and then charge your car as needed to take you to all your destinations without the burden of burning fossil fuels. As more technology and infrastructure commences, we will see the vast majority of the population switch to this greener source of energy, and that is a great thing for our big blue ball.

Type 1 EV Car Charger

Type 1 is the charger with almost every electric vehicle you buy. It is 120V and can be plugged into a standard socket in your home. Most houses have an exterior plug or one in their garage, ideal for charging your EV when parked at your residence. While this is a free charger with an EV purchase, it is the slowest for charging and can be an inconvenience if you don’t plan your day out properly.

The idea of Level 1 charging is that you finish your driving for the day, plug it in at home and in the morning, you are charged and ready to go. Level 1 chargers restore the onboard battery at around 3-8 km range per hour, taking anywhere from 22-40 hours to fully charge the battery, depending on the vehicle.

This trickle charge is very convenient, and as long as you have it plugged in overnight and only drive locally, you should be good to go.

Type 2 EV Car Charger

Type 2 is taking it up a notch, and you can get the cable as an after-market purchase from the dealership or other retailers. Lever 2 also uses AC, but it requires a 240V outlet. This is the type of plug that your dryer and oven plug into, but most people don’t have an exterior outlet available. Fortunately, you can have an electrician install one, usually as a home charging station in your driveway.

Type 2 charges at a much faster rate than type 1. Times vary, but you can expect a rate of around 17 – 90 KM range per hour. That is quite a margin, but again, it varies with the type of EV. One thing is certain: you will get fully charged overnight and can plug it in for a few hours to keep you going for the day.

Besides having a type 2 charging station installed at home, you will find these at local businesses, shopping centres, restaurants and other public places where people commonly go. It is set up for convenience and to attract consumers to shop while they can charge their vehicles. Now that’s a win/win!

Type 3 EV Car Charger

Type 3 is the fastest charger, using DC for its electrical current, and it runs a phase supply of 480V. This allows for charging that is much faster than type 2 and will get you back on the road very quickly, up to 20 minutes for a full charge.

They are expensive to install and are mainly commercial installations for vehicle fleets and available on highways and dedicated stations where people want fast charging and access points during long driving trips.

Type 2 and 3 public charging station are more expensive than residential charging, but it gives you the convenience of topping up your battery while on the road. Your best bet Is to get as much of a charge at home from either level 1 or level 2 and then use a commercial charging station when necessary. Also, you should know where the various charging stations are in your community and beyond.

Dean is a self-professed tech geek with a fondness for computers, video games, and any novelty tech-savvy gadgets.